Who is eligible?
If you are studying at UT with F-1 visa status, your spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) are eligible to apply for F-2 visas. As long as you maintain your F-1 status, your dependents may remain in the United States.
What happens next?
During your appointment, an advisor will issue you a new I-20 for you and your dependents. Your dependents will then present the I-20 when they apply for an F-2 visa in your home country. They should also present copies of your immigration documents (I-20, passport, visa, and proof of enrollment or admission, financial support, SEVIS fee receipt for primary visa holder) during the visa appointment. In addition to a valid passport and visa, your dependents will need to show their dependent I-20 upon entry to the United States. If you are requesting a change of status to F-2 within the United States, the basic process is outlined in the page: Change of Visa Status to F-2. Please speak to an advisor about the change of status procedure if you have any questions.
- Your spouse and/or children may not work. F-2 visa holders may volunteer, as long as the position is unpaid and cannot be considered employment.
- Your spouse and/or children may enroll in school and study part-time at the university level.
The validity of the F-2 visa status depends on the status of the F-1 primary visa holder. If the F-1 primary visa holder changes status or loses F-1 status, the F-2 visa holder will also lose F-2 status.
F-2 visa holders are not permitted to work while in the U.S. F-2 visa holders may volunteer, as long as the position is unpaid and cannot be considered employment. Please check with an international student advisor before getting started if you have any questions.
Although F-2 dependents are not eligible to work, they must file tax Form 8843 annually. F-1 primary visa holders are eligible to use the GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) to prepare their U.S. tax return, which will include Form 8843 for dependents. To file Form 8843, an F-2 dependent may need to request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Please contact the tax advisor if you have any questions about applying for an ITIN.
F-2 dependents are eligible for the following benefits of their status:
Child F-2 dependents may attend kindergarten through 12th grade while accompanying an F-1 parent in the U.S. Only part-time post-secondary education is allowed.
F-2 dependents are eligible for less than full time study. Less than full time study would be below 12 hours for an undergraduate student, under 9 hours for a graduate student, or under 18 clock hours in an English Language Program. Additionally, F-2 dependent are eligible to study English. If the F-1 student is a UT Faculty, Staff, or Scholar, then the F-2 is eligible for a UT affiliate discount on ESL tuition.
Health insurance is optional for F-2 dependents. If you are interested in purchasing health insurance for a dependent, please contact the insurance advisor for assistance.
F-2 dependents of F-1 students will need to have a valid travel signature on their I-20 to return to the U.S. after international travel. To get a travel signature, please visit our office during advising hours, no appointment needed. Our office will need to know the EID of the F-1 primary visa holder in order to grant a travel signature.